Crashing hands through the glass porthole which stores those 28 titular bangers from the now shard-filled shell of a jukebox in the home of Richard Hawley, listeners are invited in. Take a seat, get comfortable, kick your shoes off but don’t wrap your feet up and ruin the leather sofa, we just had that cleaned. Comfort is right at the core of 28 Little Bangers from Richard Hawley’s Jukebox, now shortened for the sake of brevity to 28 Little Bangers. Little bangers these are, though, and exciting deep dives into artists and genres which feel made for one another. Firm bedfellows brought together by a legend of music, whose keen ear for quality music is put to task on Hawley’s first compilation.
Primarily instrumentals, and Hornet’s Nest wastes no time in delighting. Thick and heavy guitar riffs, natural explosions of nasty little moodiness over the top of The Devil’s Gallop composition spins. Scratchy, sincere and all things nice about Hornet’s Nest are continued on through the remaining twenty-seven little bangers. Nothing little about them, and Hawley has on his hands a successful compilation which not only sounds great but brings fresh eyes and ears to tracks of old. An essential part of the compilation experience is just that, and diving deep into these songs is a real treat, the jukebox firing on all cylinders. Tinges of who Hawley grew up listening to are the point of these Little Bangers, and they do provide a peek inside his creative process. Jimi Hendrix, The Timekeepers and The Factory bring life to a wild trio of opening songs.
Let the seasons catch up, take your time, as Path Through The Forest suggests. Deep cuts of long-forgotten or secretly loved artists are always a treat, they provide a side of a band or musician which never rose to the top of what they were known for. 28 Little Bangers is full of those differing sides, the charm and instrumental talent of those characters still intact, but under a different guise or thrown through a different style. Scotch on the Socks from The Shadows and Quasimoto from The Road Runners make for an immaculate pairing. Hawley, if needs be, would see a career out as a pub DJ throwing classics of the 1960s out there. He has the know-how not just for track placement but how songs from different artists bleed into one another, and how they complement the time and contemporary surroundings. Even flow is hard to keep up with when twenty-eight are put together, but 28 Little Bangers is a sum of its incredible parts and the man piecing it together.
Every artist should be conscripted into making three compilations of their archives. Hawley proves those with a talent for music and a burning love for the noise that makes them push on have what it takes to bring together incredible compilations. From show-stopping guitar trickery to a deep and moving beast later down the line. Twenty-eight isn’t enough, and the cries for another volume will hopefully push the Sheffield legend toward another few compilations. Booming with a communal music hall spirit, 28 Little Bangers brings out the memories of an artist piecing together his past through the sounds nearly lost to time. From The Dyna-Sores to Art Guy and a nice piece from The Troggs, these little gems are bigger than their title would suggest. Huge tunes collected by a trusted name who knows his stuff.